The article from the ‘Telegraph’ of July 18th makes informative reading. I believe I must commend the writer for her challenging of her readers.
However, the article must be viewed through the ‘lens’ of God’s Word. It is very obvious to the student of the Word of God that there are widespread assumptions, that are unwarranted, made and held by many Christians regarding the ‘Christianity’ of certain nations. In truth, Bible Christianity has never been welcomed in ANY NATION on this earth at ANY TIME!
Whatever endorsements governments may have appeared to give to God’s Word in the past, were entirely false and spurious on the part of the majority of the members of such governments. God’s Word been defied and disobeyed by the many in governments everywhere. It was the influence of a few that ever brought about such an endorsement in the first place!
The present arrangement within the ‘state church’ here in the UK, is a clear illustration of that. King Charles III was recently crowned. During the ceremony he publicly vowed to uphold the truth of God. Were he to do that he would immediately put away his present ‘wife’, with whom he presently lives in an adulterous relationship.
We all know that will not happen and furthermore, the majority of clerics in the land would never seek for that to happen!
Such is illustrative of the present ‘allegiance’ of the land to God’s Word!
Speaking of himself and the other apostles, Paul says this: “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day,” 1 Corinthians 4:9-13.
When the ‘chief’ of Christians were so treated as they brought the glorious message of mercy and salvation, we lesser Christians should expect nothing better from the world when we endeavour to walk faithfully in their footsteps!
It is true that there is increasing evidence, something of which is set forth in this ’Telegraph’ article, though it must be said that what is stated here is but the ’tip of the iceberg’ regarding the departure from the truth of God in church and state and society generally.
Every form of wicked perversion is embraced, endorsed and enthusiastically pursued without shame in our nation. The murder of the unborn has been a legal act since 1967, resulting in millions of healthy babies done to death with the overwhelming support of the people of our land, including many churches.
Nowhere in the Bible are we given cause to expect a welcome to be given to the gospel! How was He Who is the very essence of the gospel, received?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . . . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John 1:1-5, 9-12.
Those few words sum up the intrinsic attitude of the world to God, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the gospel and true believers. So it has ever been and so it will ever be.
If ever there was a land where a welcome for Christ and His Word could be anticipated, it would be the land of Israel. Of the people of that land, Paul wrote. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God,” Romans 3:1-2.
The Israelite nation had been favoured and tutored and had faithful men sent of God to instruct them in the glorious truths of God. Yet that favoured people, when Christ came amongst them as had been prophesied, they “received him not”!
The Lord Jesus repeatedly warned Israel of its sinful attitude toward God and where it would lead. The following parable is an example of that warning.
“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them,” Matthew 21:33-45.
The closing words of that quotation indicate that the religious leaders of Israel understood what the Saviour meant but went on despite that and “killed the Prince of life,” Acts 3:15.
Remember the words of the Saviour to His disciples in which He warned them that they would suffer the same rejection.
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved,” Matthew 10:22.
“Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves,” Luke 10:3.
“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service,” John 16:2.
When the Lord spoke to Ananias regarding Saul of Tarsus, whom He had just confronted on the road to Damascus, He had Ananias inform Saul (later called Paul) of what lay ahead of him in his gospel service. “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake,” Acts 9:15-16.
The Lord has never hid from His people the animosity of this world which they would invariably face.
As I said, it has ever been so. Heed the words of David as he complains to the Lord of his sufferings at the hands of men. He speaks in the spirit of prophecy, for the Saviour’s sufferings at Calvary are foreshadowed in his words.
“Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns,” Psalm 22:11-21.
Such was the experience of Ezekiel. “And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious,” Ezekiel 2:3-7.
I could add many other references to the list of sufferings by the prophets at the hands of those to whom they were sent with God’s Word. These poignant words of Christ to Jerusalem sum up what I am saying.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” Matthew 23:37-39.
For this reason, the growing animosity toward the truth God within the United Kingdom, should not surprise anyone! If there is ’surprise’ it is because Christians have been failed by their ministers to set out what is plainly stated in the Bible of what a Christian may expect in this world.
‘Evanjellyfish’ as Dr Paisley used to refer to weak pastors in his glory days, are to blame for the spread of the notion that if the Christian is ‘nice’, and does not offend by being too judgmental, that is, he does not come down heavy on those things forbidden and condemned by the Lord in His Word, he will be welcomed and respected by all.
The experience of the Christian who is mentioned at the very beginning of the ‘Telegraph’ article, King Lawal, a Tory councillor, belies that folly!
The history of the gospel witness in this country is one shamed by the persecution of the Wycliffes, the Tyndales, the Cranmers and Ridleys and Latimers, the banning and burning of Bibles and an infinite number of occasions when brutal treatment was the portion of Christians. That same spirit, though restrained by the providential intervention of God, is just as active today as is seen in the rampant departure from the simple gospel within many so-called Christian’ denominations.
Be aware Christian, the restraint presently exercised by God upon the antichristian powers will be released at the fast approaching end of this age as is stated in God’s Word.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,” Revelation 12:10-12.
I wonder how long it will be before any writing, as I am doing here, will suffer outright persecution, akin to that suffered by our faithful and bold forefathers?
Sincerely in Christ’s name,
The suspension of a Tory councillor hints at a growing intolerance for our official religion
18 July 2023 • 7:00am
At a time when society is increasingly turning against Christians for their beliefs, they will find little sanctuary in the Church of England.
“Pride is not a virtue but a sin” tweeted King Lawal, a Tory councillor who has just been suspended from the Party and is under investigation by Conservative headquarters. King Lawal defended his position, explaining: “what I said was biblically sound and a protected expression of the Christian faith”.
“Pride” to the traditional Christian mind, is one of the seven deadly sins; but to society’s ears, the word has become wrapped up, first with LGBT rights, and now with broader social justice activism. Lawal joins the ranks of an increasing number of Christians who will feel that modern-day Britain can no longer be a natural home for those who hold certain beliefs: Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a charity worker, was arrested twice and charged on four counts for silent prayer “thought crime” near an abortion facility. Dr David MacKereth, a Christian doctor, was sacked after misgendering trans patients because it violated his conscience. He later lost a discrimination claim against the Government, with the tribunal concluding that beliefs which restrict the fundamental rights of others are not protected under the Equality Act.
What is equally troubling is how traditional Christian beliefs, grounded in the Gospel, are coming into conflict with the New Religion, not just within society at large – but within the church itself. The Church of England is becoming consumed by ideas that are not only extraneous to traditional Christian teachings, but in some cases, are opposed to it. Those who hold to these teachings are being squeezed out. In some instances the leadership, eager to swallow every so-called “progressive” pill, now seem to view Christ Himself as a problem. How else can we interpret Stephen Cottrell’s complaints that the Lord’s Prayer is problematic? “This, then, is how you should pray” says Christ himself, in Matthew 6:9. Yet the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell thinks its language is too patriarchal. While parishes are turning into dust, churches left to “lie fallow”, bishops’ attention is taken up by follies like a commission into gendered language. It was reported last week that York Minster has allegedly prevented a pro-life group, who are critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury, from attending public worship within the cathedral, while allowing climate activists to enter placards in hand. It has since denied the claims. Bristol Cathedral recently hosted an event with Bristol Climate Choir and Extinction Rebellion, processing with banners, through the church in a spectacle that resembled something of a medieval or pagan ritual. The Bishop of Bristol has, in the past, been explicit in her support of XR activist clergy. Commenting on the acquittal of Rev Sue Parfitt after she engaged in peaceful protest outside a Ministry of Defence site, Rev Vivienne Faull said: “I share with her the conviction that the world is facing a climate and ecological crisis and that we are not yet moving fast enough to tackle it”. Such is the fixation with Net Zero that the Church of England is said to be considering “human composting” as an alternative to burial or cremation. Bishops may establish a consultation group to assess “theological considerations”.
Teaching guidance issued by the Diocese of Edmundsbury and Ipswich states that pupils should learn about white privilege using the “white supremacy pyramid”. No surprise, perhaps, given that the Bishop of St Edmundsbury criticised the Government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report after it found that factors such as family structure, class and socio-economic background had a greater impact on life chances than race. The Bishop maintained “there is no shortage of evidence of systemic racism, even if the [report] sought to argue against that”. The Church’s Chief Education Officer, the Revd Canon Nigel Genders defended the guidance, arguing that teaching racial justice has “never been more important”. He backed CofE schools teaching “the enduring impact of slavery and the reality of institutional and systemic racism” and held that this work was “fundamental to what we believe as Christians”.
In the Diocese of Bristol sits the twelfth century Malmesbury Abbey, where Æthelstan – the first Rex Anglorum, “King of England” – is buried. I was last there for a funeral and remembered it having an atmosphere heavy with ancient sanctity. Paying another visit recently, what did I find? A coffee shop, sofas, television screens advertising a skate park in the Abbey, and a sprawling gift shop within the Abbey church. It seemed as though the place had been desecrated, and it was impossible not to leave feeling sad, robbed and resigned.
Has the Bishop of Bristol forgotten Christ’s words in the Temple: “my house will be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves”? I am certain they can’t see why any of this is offensive and disrespectful, but that is indicative of the problem. When it is not selling playing cards alongside the hallowed funerary monument to England’s first king, the Church of England is becoming so animated by controversial political ideas and syncretising these beliefs into a new theology that it looks as if they are dispensing of Christianity itself.